This week we have some mutton to stew over; sourced from East Marden. Mutton is tastier than lamb, but is still seen as specialist meat that is fashionable in restaurants, but not kitchens, despite for centuries being more popular than lamb. It was served at the last lunch on the Titanic (so don’t get any if you are planning a boating trip!) and has an acclaimed history at the British table. It’s the perfect dish for the colder winter months, providing a rich, slow cooked flavour that is hard to beat.
Mutton is sheep that is over two years old and our mutton has come from the South Downs pastures of East Marden. Gavin currently has diced, minced, loin rolled in bacon, chops and legs of mutton, but email if you want to order.
There is a book on Mutton, the great “Much Ado About Mutton” that gives you the full historical background and why we should be eating more of it. It’s perfect for a curry, with the robust flavour complimenting the spice. Get out the slow cooker and enjoy traditional, delicious meat.
Here are some recipes
and if you are planning something special, try out
POACHED LEG OF MUTTON WITH A CAPER CREAM SAUCE
- 2kg (4lb,6oz) 1/2 leg of mutton (bone-in)
- 4 large Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
- 2 generous tsp sea salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 5ml (1tsp) whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 stick cinnamon
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) light chicken stock
- 1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine
- 350g (12oz) unsalted butter
- 60 ml (4tbsp) finely chopped shallots
- 60 ml (4 tbsp) capers
- 600ml (1pt) double cream.
- Place the mutton into a large saucepan and bury it in the sliced onions. Add the salt. Tie the bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon and orange zest in a piece of muslin and add this to the pan with half of the wine.
- Cover with the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Skim off the crust that forms on the surface with a spoon.
- Simmer gently for approximately 2 hours or until tender.
- After 1 hour, take a saucepan and melt 150g (6oz) of the butter, add the shallots and capers and cook gently until softened then turn up the heat to lightly colour the shallots.
- Add the rest of the wine and cook briskly until the liquid reduces by half. Draw off approximately 1 litre (2 pints) of the poaching liquor from the mutton pan and add it to the capers and shallots. Bring this to the boil and reduce by half. Add the double cream and bring back to the boil. Reduce the mixture further until you achieve a glossy cream gravy. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.
- When the mutton is ready, transfer to a serving dish, cover and keep warm. Strain the poaching liquid from the onions but retain.
- Heat a large frying pan and melt the remaining butter until foaming. Add the drained onions and fry briskly until they turn golden and have begun to caramelise.
- Place some of the golden onions onto a plate and slice the mutton finely on top of it. Garnish with a ladling of the caper cream sauce. Note: The retained poaching liquid can be used to make a delicious soup.